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Teaching Marx


Announcing a forthcoming book: Teaching Marx: The Socialist Challenge

Edited by Curry Stephenson Malott, Mike Cole and John Elmore

To be published by Information Age Publishing

Critical Construction: Studies in Education and Society, see:

Series Editor: Curry Stephenson Malott, West Chester University

“There is growing disillusionment with a social system where increasing productivity leads only to increased gaps between rich and poor, where reductions in social programs (retirement, health care, education) are the chief response an uninspired political sector can muster, and where non-sustainable exploitation of the Earth continues undiminished — in short, as the looming, world-wide economic crisis draws nearer, the essays in Teaching Marx: The Socialist Challengeare critical reading. It is time for our teachers to prepare students not to take their place in an increasingly corrupt economy, but to bring about the fundamental changes we need to build an equitable, prosperous, sustainable future” — Dr. Dennis Vickers, Humanities Department, College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wisconsin.

Curry Malott

Teaching Marx: The Socialist Challenge is an extraordinarily important text at this juncture of world history. Functioning as more than just another pedagogical weapon to be used against the ideological structures of death and social hallucinogenics manufactured by the transnational capitalist class, it is a book that can provide fecund opportunities for teachers to re-learn how to put social and economic justice front and center in the agenda for educational reform by putting Marx front and center, where he belongs” — Peter McLaren, Professor, UCLA and author of Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Revolution

Teaching Marx: The Socialist Challenge provides a useful starting point for understanding the origins of today’s global crisis of capitalism. Our work in public schools to encourage respectful dialogues between Indian and non-Indian students about local conflicts over land ownership, through the TERRA Institute, should encourage cooperative action to find common interests. This book reminds us to move those specific discussions to explorations of the causes of conflicts over land, including the imperatives of global capitalism” — David Stanfield, TERRA Institute,

“As this book so clearly and illustratively points out, the work of Marx has always served as a critical tool for identifying and scraping away the residue of commodity relations as a means to an end of revolutionary purpose, and teaching Marx is therefore keynote to education becoming able to serve as a tool of liberation and revolution. The reasons for why this is so are very clear in the book. As its authors successively and in detail clearly point out, we are ‘educated’ to believe that we live in a meritocracy where god-given abilities and hard work afford position and reward, and the work of social institutions like the school play a key part in this. These institutions, as ideological apparatuses of the State, barrage us with propaganda and bombard us with ideas inside practices that are designed to convince us all that at the head of the equation of the constitution of the social and economic order is the work, skills, ideas, knowledge and commitment of individual people themselves and that the effort and competences of these individuals determine social position and the possibilities for economic reward and even social justice for all.

Mike Cole

Put directly and simply, the book shows us how the public has been hoodwinked by the school and other social institutions to believe in the ethics of capitalism and its central ideological tenet that the present social order is natural and in the end inevitable and beneficial for us all. However, as well as critiquing the work of the school as an instrument of reproduction, the book also shows how and why the education system could and should challenge the anti-democratic perspectives that disguise and defend the current social relations of production and the ideological and material needs of the capitalist class. It offers that is an educational challenge to the inevitability and “correctness” of capitalism by showing how its laws can be made visible to ordinary people so the oppressive power of the capitalist class can be more correctly identified, challenged and defeated.  In this way the book both poses the question and provides answers concerning what role education can play in a possible future revolutionary moment: both as a “true” education as an act of liberation and as a dialectic lens for critiquing the world in which we live. Used appropriately the book can become a clear and fundamental ingredient for helping to create the possibilities for a more egalitarian and socially just world” — Dennis Beach, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

“This collection by Malott, Cole and Elmore’s is a very timely contribution to the current revival of Marxism in education. The authors engage seriously with the ideas of Marx – from his theory of capitalist crises to the increasing impoverishment of the working class – and debunk many of the commonly held myths about Marxism. The compilation of writings provide a devastating rejoinder to those who believe that we can only make changes within the present system and show how this crisis has made discussion of socialist alternatives, in education and society, an urgent necessity. They argue that, in Marx’s words, the educators need to get educated and find ways – through their students, through what they teach, and through their political activism – to feed into wider movements of social change” — Marnie Holborow, author on Marxism and Language, Dublin City University, Ireland.

John Elmore



Teaching Marx: The Socialist Challenge – is now out!



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Critical Pedagogy


Call for Papers

Critical Theories in the Twenty First Century: A Conference of Transformative Pedagogies

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Conference Founders: Curry Malott, John Elmore, and Brad Porfilio

November 18th and 19th 2011

Proposals for papers, panels, performances, workshops, and other multimedia presentations should include title(s) and names and contact information for presenter(s). The deadline for sending prooposals is August 31, 2011. The Steering Committee will email acceptance or rejection notices by September 8, 2011. The proposal formats available to the presenters are as follows:

The general purpose of the West Chester Critical Theory Conference is to promote and support critical scholarship within students, and to advance critical theory and pedagogy more generally. By “advance” we mean to expose more people to critical practices and understandings as part of the process of the development of theory.

Through this focus we hope to work toward unifying and strengthening the sub-genres of critical pedagogy from Marxism, critical race theory, to critical neo-colonial studies. This goal is approached through the conferences internal pedagogy and therefore through a horizontal rather than a vertical organizing structure; by including students and classroom teachers in the critical pedagogical work dominated by professors; and by attempting to create a space where criticalists who do not usually work together can create meaningful unity, respect, and common goals. Since the dominant form of power in the twenty first century—neoliberal capitalist power—is both multicultural and global, critical pedagogy must too become more multicultural and global if it is to pose a significant challenge to it for a more democratic life after capitalism.

Because critical theory is concerned with not only understanding the world, but with transforming it, the conference is focused on not only understanding the consequences of an unjust social and economic system (i.e. corporate take-over of schools, high stakes testing and behaviorist pedagogy, micro classroom aggressions and bullying, poverty, racism, sexism, white supremacy, homophobia, perpetual war, ableism, etc.), but with transforming or dissolving their root causes (i.e. neoliberal capitalism and settler-state, Euro-centric oppression and their patriarchal, homophobic, racist, etc. hegemonies). As part of this goal the conference will hopefully provide introductory discussions and presentations on critical pedagogy and critical theory.

Proposal Formats

Individual Proposal: (45 minutes)
The conference committee welcomes individual paper proposals, with the understanding that those accepted will be grouped together around common or overlapping themes, Presenters will have approximately 45 minutes to present or summarize their individual papers. Individual paper submissions will be considered for panels with the same topic/theme. If you would prefer to present your paper/research individually you should consider the alternative format proposal. A 300-500 word abstract of the paper will be peer reviewed for acceptance to the conference.

Symposium Proposal: (90 minutes)
Presenters are also welcomed to submit proposals for a symposium. A symposium is typically composed of a chair and discussant and three to five participants who present or summarize their papers. Each symposium is organized around a common theme. Each participant will have between 15 and 45 minutes to present their papers, depending upon the number of participants involved in the symposium. A 300-500 word abstract of the symposium will be peer reviewed for acceptance to the conference.

Panel Proposal: (90 minutes)
A panel discussion is another venue available presenters. A panel discussion is typically composed of three to six participants who discuss their scholarly work within the context of a dialogue or conversation on a topic or theme related to the conference theme. Typically, each panelist is given 10-15 minutes to discuss the topic, present theoretical ideas, and/or point to relevant research. A chair should be identified who introduces the panel and frames the issues and questions being addressed. In addition to the chair, we encourage (but do not require) organizers of panels to include a discussant who responds to the comments of the panelists. Individual proposal submissions will be combined into panels with the same theme/topic. A 300-500 word abstract of the panel discussion will be peer reviewed for acceptance to the conference.

Alternative Format and Special Interest Groups (90 minutes)
Alternative proposals that do not fit into the above categories, such as workshops, performances, video and multimedia presentations, and round-table dialogues, are encouraged. We also welcome proposals for the organization of special interest groups. A 150-250 word abstract of the panel discussion will be peer reviewed for acceptance to the conference.

Email proposals to conference coordinators Brad Porfilio ( and Curry Malott ( by August 31, 2011.

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